Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Small Employer’s Lack of Understanding Not Excuse for Dual Discrimination

Written by Lewis Waring, Paralegal, LL.B., Articled Clerk, Editor, First Reference

In a recent Alberta ruling, a small employer was found to have discriminated against its employee on the grounds of family status when it removed her role and dismissed her for cause following the resignation of her common-law spouse. Given its refusal to recognize the employee’s taking of medical leave in her final days of employment, the employer was also liable for disability discrimination under the Alberta Human Rights Act. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Need to Act Fast in the Face of Major Change

Written by Daniel Standing, LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

The law doesn’t easily tolerate those who sleep on their rights. In the world of wrongful dismissal, the adage “you snooze, you lose” rings particularly true. A recent decision of the Court of Appeal for Alberta (2022 ABCA 230) illustrates how an employee’s delayed objection to significantly changed terms of employment can leave them stuck with the changes. The court also provides helpful advice about factors that might serve to lengthen or shorten the amount of time an employee has to think before choosing to act. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Competition, Solicitation and Medication… but No More Injunction

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

This is a complex Alberta case: 2022 ABQB 58 (CanLII)-both for its facts, and the law the court applies. At its heart, it’s an employment case because it deals squarely with an employer’s access to certain revenue, without which it can’t operate. Essentially, it’s about whether an interim injunction cutting a Calgary pharmacy off from a major segment of its client base should be allowed to stand. These clients, formerly the applicants, started buying their drugs across the street at a pharmacy run by some of its former employees. One . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employer Vicariously Liable for Employees’ Dangerous Data Breach

In a recent British Columbia class action ruling, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (employer) was found vicariously liable for the actions of an employee who fraudulently accessed personal information maintained by ICBC. ICBC was ordered to pay damages to the members of a class action as a result of the privacy breach. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Uncomfortable Situation a Punishable Offence Says Arbitrator

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

A recent British Columbia arbitration case provides employers several kernels of wisdom respecting the investigation and punishment of conduct that violates a respectful workplace policy. Largely centered on the witnesses’ credibility, 2022 CanLII 60943 (BC LA) is a case that employers can turn to for guidance when dealing with such uncomfortable situations. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

OPP’s DNA Sweep Discriminates Against Migrant Workers

In a recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruling, it was found that the Ontario Provincial Police violated the human rights of a large number of migrant workers based on race, colour and place of origin, when it conducted a DNA sweep during a criminal investigation of a sexual assault. The HRTO noted in particular that the OPP sought and collected DNA from all migrant workers, regardless of whether they met the victim’s description or had an alibi, and the OPP failed to adequately ensure that vulnerable workers were able to provide voluntary and informed consent to the DNA . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Specialized Contractor Can Do More Than One Thing

Written by Daniel Standing, LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

A recent decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, 2022 CanLII 5411 (ON LRB), could make waves in the construction industry for its redefining the concept of a specialty scaffolding contractor. Departing from the oversimplified notion that a speciality scaffolding contractor does nothing but scaffolding, the Board adopted a contextualized approach by examining the contractor’s devotion of time and resources to scaffolding to determine the matter. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Of Floors and Ceilings: Appeal Court Interprets Contract

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

Clarity of language is perhaps the most important part of writing a good contract. In the employment world, the slightest uncertainty in a termination provision can and often does lead to costly litigation to determine how much money should change hands. In 2022 ABCA 220 (CanLII), the Court of Appeal of Alberta helped the parties interpret a provision providing for “60 days or more” notice of termination, holding that the ambiguity inherent in it meant that it should be interpreted in the employee’s favour. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Original and Successor Employers Both Liable for Oppression Remedy After Wrongful Dismissal

In a recent Alberta wrongful dismissal case, the court, using the oppression remedy analysis, ruled that the original and successor corporations and the directors and shareholders were liable to pay the full judgment. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Trumped-Up Cause Allegations Prove Costly to Employer

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

When an employment relationship ends, one of the parties usually has a good reason. Sometimes the parties part ways on good terms, but in other cases, just cause is alleged. In cases of the latter type, a solid factual basis is needed. Otherwise, unproven allegations could prove costly to the employer, as was illustrated in a recent wrongful dismissal action, 2020 BCSC 2298 (CanLII), in which the employer saved its grievances concerning the employee until the last minute, and by then it was too late.

Background

The plaintiff was the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Limitation Period Extended by Defendant’s Conduct

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

Without limitation periods, potential defendants would be at risk of being sued at any time; a perpetual black cloud would loom overhead. Barring lawsuits after the time limit has passed serves several important policy goals: it encourages people to bring forward and resolve their claims in a timely way, and it gives people a degree of finality. Determining whether a claim is time-barred may seem like an easy task, but a party may do something that causes one to wonder when the time limit began to run. Such was the situation . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

CEO Dismissal Is Not a Wrongful Termination

In a recent Alberta ruling, a Society was found to have wrongfully terminated a management contract with a company when it dismissed the company’s chief executive officer for breach of the management contract, but there was no wrongful dismissal as the CEO was not an employee, but an independent contractor.

Background

The Society operated an annual music festival in Alberta. In order to manage its festival, the Society consistently hired a separate organization to manage the festival. Part of that organization’s management of the festival was providing consultants to serve on the festival’s board of directors. These consultants included all . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions